The brain-in-motion study: Effect of a 6-month aerobic exercise intervention on cerebrovascular regulation and cognitive function in older adults

BMC Geriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.68). 02/2013; 13(1):21. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2318-13-21
Source: PubMed


Aging and physical inactivity are associated with declines in some cognitive domains and cerebrovascular function, as well as an elevated risk of cerebrovascular disease and other morbidities. With the increase in the number of sedentary older Canadians, promoting healthy brain aging is becoming an increasingly important population health issue. Emerging research suggests that higher levels of physical fitness at any age are associated with better cognitive functioning and this may be mediated, at least in part, by improvements in cerebrovascular reserve. We are currently conducting a study to determine: if a structured 6-month aerobic exercise program is associated with improvements or maintenance of both cerebrovascular function and cognitive abilities in older individuals; and, the extent to which any changes seen persist 6 months after the completion of the structured exercise program.

Two hundred and fifty men and women aged 55–80 years are being enrolled into an 18-month combined quasi-experimental and prospective cohort study. Participants are eligible for enrollment into the study if they are inactive (i.e., not participating in regular physical activity), non-smokers, have a body mass index <35.0 kg/m2, are free of significant cognitive impairment (defined as a Montreal Cognitive Assessment score of 24 or more), and do not have clinically significant cardiovascular, cerebrovascular disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary airway disease. Repeated measurements are done during three sequential six-month phases: 1) pre-intervention; 2) aerobic exercise intervention; and 3) post-intervention. These outcomes include: cardiorespiratory fitness, resting cerebral blood flow, cerebrovascular reserve, and cognitive function.

This is the first study to our knowledge that will examine contemporaneously the effect of an exercise intervention on both cerebrovascular reserve and cognition in an older population. This study will further our understanding of whether cerebrovascular mechanisms might explain how exercise promotes healthy brain aging. In addition our study will address the potential of increasing physical activity to prevent age-associated cognitive decline.

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Available from: Margie H Davenport, Oct 09, 2015
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    • "These influences should be investigated further to guide public policies.7,8 Epidemiological studies have correlated physical and cognitive inactivity with a higher risk of age-related cognitive decline,9,10 while an active lifestyle may help prevent cognitive impairment in old age,11 a topic that was recently reviewed.5 Consistent with this view, the decline in memory and language that is associated with normal or pathological aging seems to be aggravated after institutionalization.12,13 Institutionalization is associated with an impoverished environment, as well as reduced sensorimotor and cognitive stimulation, social interactions, and physical activity, which contribute to a sedentary lifestyle.12 "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present report was to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of multisensory and cognitive stimulation on improving cognition in elderly persons living in long-term-care institutions (institutionalized [I]) or in communities with their families (noninstitutionalized [NI]). We compared neuropsychological performance using language and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) test scores before and after 24 and 48 stimulation sessions. The two groups were matched by age and years of schooling. Small groups of ten or fewer volunteers underwent the stimulation program, twice a week, over 6 months (48 sessions in total). Sessions were based on language and memory exercises, as well as visual, olfactory, auditory, and ludic stimulation, including music, singing, and dance. Both groups were assessed at the beginning (before stimulation), in the middle (after 24 sessions), and at the end (after 48 sessions) of the stimulation program. Although the NI group showed higher performance in all tasks in all time windows compared with I subjects, both groups improved their performance after stimulation. In addition, the improvement was significantly higher in the I group than the NI group. Language tests seem to be more efficient than the MMSE to detect early changes in cognitive status. The results suggest the impoverished environment of long-term-care institutions may contribute to lower cognitive scores before stimulation and the higher improvement rate of this group after stimulation. In conclusion, language tests should be routinely adopted in the neuropsychological assessment of elderly subjects, and long-term-care institutions need to include regular sensorimotor, social, and cognitive stimulation as a public health policy for elderly persons.
    Clinical Interventions in Aging 02/2014; 9:309-21. DOI:10.2147/CIA.S54383 · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    • "Further research is needed to better document the impact of other forms of exercise, as well as the dose-response relationship that governs the positive impact of exercise on brain functions. Hopefully, ongoing randomized trials such as the AIBL Active Trial [85] and the brain-in-motion trial [86] designed to address the relationship between physical exercise intervention and brain function in at risk individuals will help answer these questions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Studies supporting the notion that physical activity and exercise can help alleviate the negative impact of age on the body and the mind abound. This literature review provides an overview of important findings in this fast growing research domain. Results from cross-sectional, longitudinal, and intervention studies with healthy older adults, frail patients, and persons suffering from mild cognitive impairment and dementia are reviewed and discussed. Together these finding suggest that physical exercise is a promising nonpharmaceutical intervention to prevent age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.
    Journal of aging research 09/2013; 2013(9):657508. DOI:10.1155/2013/657508
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    ABSTRACT: In contrast to other clinical outcomes, long-term cognitive function in critical care survivors has not been deeply studied. In this narrative review, we summarize the existing literature on the prevalence, mechanisms, risk factors, and prediction of cognitive impairment after surviving critical illness. Depending on the exact clinical subgroup, up to 100% of critical care survivors may suffer some degree of long-term cognitive impairment at hospital discharge; in approximately 50%, decrements in cognitive function will persist years later. Although the mechanisms of acquiring this impairment are poorly understood, several risk factors have been identified. Unfortunately, no easy means of predicting long-term cognitive impairment exists. Despite this barrier, research is ongoing to test possible treatments for cognitive impairment. In particular, the potential role of exercise on cognitive recovery is an exciting area of exploration. Opportunities exist to incorporate physical and cognitive rehabilitation strategies across a spectrum of environments (in the ICU, on the hospital ward, and at home, posthospital discharge).
    Critical Care Medicine 09/2013; 41:S81-S98. DOI:10.1097/CCM.0b013e3182a16946 · 6.31 Impact Factor
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